There is no doubt about it, aggressive driving puts everyone at risk and we have all seen it.
How many times have you been on the highway witnessed one of the following?
- 82% of U.S. drivers admitted to having road rage or driving aggressively at least once during the year
- 59% of drivers reported they showed anger by honking
- 45% of drivers reported changing lanes without signaling, and
- 42% of drivers admitted to yelling or cursing loudly at another driver
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” This type of dangerous driving may involve:
- Frequent, erratic and unsafe lane changes.
- Running red lights.
- Failing to obey stop signs, yield signs and other traffic signals.
- Driving illegally on the shoulder, median or sidewalk.
- Passing in zones where passing is prohibited.
- Failing to signal turns or lane changes.
- Ignoring signals from other drivers.
- Failing to yield right of way.
- Driving in an erratic, reckless, or negligent manner.
- Taking out frustrations on other motorists.
Unfortunately, aggressive driving sometimes escalates to road rage.
The National Safety Council (NSC) defines road rage as “a physical assault of a person or vehicle as a result of a traffic incident.” It involves using a vehicle as a weapon with the intention of doing harm to others or their property.
The American Safety Council provides the following statistics about road rage:
- Road rage is most likely exhibited by young males.
- Firearms are involved in 37 percent of all road rage incidents.
- Half of the drivers on the receiving end of road rage behavior respond with aggressive behavior in turn.
- 12,610 injuries and 218 murders over a 7-year period were attributed to road rage.
So what should you do if you witness aggressive driving or road rage?
The best answer is use common sense. Don’t put yourself or the passengers of your vehicle or other vehicles in danger!
- Get out of the way and give the angry driver plenty of room.
- Avoid eye contact.
- Refrain from making any rude hand or facial gestures.
- Call 911 if you are worried about your safety.
And here’s another idea. If you have a passenger in the car who can safely record an incident on their cell phone, have them record the incident and get license plate numbers of the vehicles involved. Then report then incident and send the video to the local state highway patrol.
During a recent four-year period, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that 106,727 fatal crashes – 55.7 percent of the total – involved drivers who committed one or more aggressive driving actions.
Here are 3 common sense rules:
- Don’t be an aggressive driver
- Don’t challenge an aggressive driver. Get out of the way.
- If safely possible, report road rage incidents that you may witness to the local state highway patrol.